Bulawayo pins hope on census

The Chronicle

Mashudu Netsianda and Patrick Chitumba, Chronicle Reporters
THE 2022 Population and Housing Census, which is being conducted by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat), has ignited hope among Bulawayo residents.

The census runs up to April 30 while the results are expected after three months. The country conducts censuses at 10-year intervals, with the first population census conducted in 1982 and in the years that followed in 1992, 2002 and 2012.

During the enumeration exercise, Zimstat enumerators are visiting all households and institutions across the country asking questions pertaining to socio-economic and demographic characteristics of households.

Enumerators are moving in both urban and rural communities, knocking on doors and asking for the data on who spent census night in each household.

The door-knocking and questioning continues until Saturday next week, giving enumerators enough time to track down all households to ensure that all the data is entered into their gadgets and then downloaded to the ZimStat database.

In line with the Census and Statistics Act, Chapter 10:29, all information collected during the Population and Housing Census enumeration exercise are confidential and will be used for statistical purposes only.

In separate interviews, residents said the ongoing survey will ensure equitable distribution of resources by the Government as well as address some of the major challenges faced in communities.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) Ward 15 chairperson in Luveve, Mr Ndaba Ngoma said for planning purposes, census is a vital tool.

Mr Ndaba Ngoma

“This exercise is very important in the sense that the Government will also be able to extract vital demographic characteristics of households, which helps to address some of the socio-economic challenges such as accommodation problems, shortage of health and educational facilities among others,” he said.

“You will find that in some households, people will be staying crammed as different families since they will be renting and once that information is gathered, the Government can then address those challenges based on data collected.”

Ms Mandy Dube of Famona said they were optimistic that the census results would help determine their social needs.

“Census plays an essential role when it comes to economic planning and I am hopeful that the results will shape the future of our country. It is also important to note that funding, allocation of social services and decisions about where to invest and build are guided by the census,” she said.

“When planning, the Government uses a combination of data from the census and other surveys to create demographic profiles of the city. These reports help planners understand the communities we live in and how they have changed over time.”

Ms Nokuphila Sibanda of Luveve, who stays with her daughter, said she was happy that her other children who are living in the diaspora were counted.

“I stay with my daughter and my other four children in South Africa. I am glad that despite their absence, they were also counted because it is important that everyone living, both in and outside Zimbabwe, is counted to accurately reflect who and where they are for planning purposes. Even if you are living out of the country, you are still a Zimbabwean,” she said.

Ms Nokuphila Sibanda

ZimStat director general, Mr Taguma Mahonde said in order for the country to successfully plan for economic and social development and carry out administrative activity or scientific research, it is necessary to have reliable and detailed data on the size, composition, distribution and other benchmark statistics on the population.

“The census provides this much needed information. However, the census is very costly to undertake and this is why it is conducted every 10 years. Thorough and careful planning is required to ensure that the programme is implemented in an effective and efficient manner,” he said.

The last population of Zimbabwe on August 18, 2012 was 12 973 808 and estimates show that the population is now around 17 million people.

Mr Mahonde urged the public to co-operate with enumerators during data collection exercise. “Given the foregoing, ZimStat is requesting for cooperation from the general public to enable enumerators to undertake their work. Please note that in line with the Census and Statistics Act, Chapter 10:29, all information collected during the Population and Housing Census enumeration

exercise are confidential and will be used for statistical purposes only,” he said.

Mr Taguma Mahonde

Meanwhile, Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Larry Mavima has called on the public to cooperate with the ZimStat enumerators, saying the results will guide the devolution agenda.

In an interview, Minister Mavima said the census exercise is important as it will assist the Government in the equitable sharing of resources and revenues guided by population profiles, poverty profiles, and infrastructure quality.

He said the results will map the way forward in the formulation of policies and programmes.

“Population census is a key informant of our vision as a country, towards a prosperous and empowered upper-middle income society by 2030. Devolution funds will be disbursed to local authorities by a formula which takes into account population as provided by ZimStat, this is achievable through analysed and evaluated data pertaining to all persons in Zimbabwe, through us cooperating in this exercise,” he said.

“I urge citizens to participate in the population census as the results will guide the devolution agenda,” he said.

Minister Mavima said the Midlands Provincial Economic Development Plan (MPEDP) relies much on economic data provided by ZimStat and in support of the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra that is being spearheaded by the Second Republic.

“ZimStat provides data for the Provincial Economic Development Profile (PEDP), making the profile to be the drive highlighting the potential for the province and the necessary support to potential investors. In support of the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra, ZimStat has set forth awesome data for our PEDP, making this profile to highlight the potential of the province and giving necessary support to investors,” he said.

Minister Larry Mavima

The Minister said with the devolved structures, each province has the mandate to calculate its own Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita which is the total provincial population as calculated and analysed by each province helping in assessing living standards of the people across the province.

“It is important we get counted as our GDP per capita figures, it will help in the assessment of the living standards of our people across the province, for the year 2020, Midlands had a GDP of $130 billion and GDP per capita of $65 400 and I applaud ZimStat for timeous release for the data,” he said.

Midlands Province Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Mr Abiot Maronge said the census programme is progressing well following a false start due to heavy rains that fell across the province.

He said following the clearing of the skies- the enumerators have been able to go on the ground collecting data from the people. – @mashnets @pchitumba1.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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